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July 4th Skiing

Dscf0594 This is a picture from the bottom of the Snowbird parking lot. I went up there today to talk to people who plan on skiing on the Fourth of July. Snowbird had so much snow that they have been open on the weekends still. When I think of July 4, I think of fireworks, parades, camping, hiking, etc -- not skiing! The people I talked to were so excited to hit the slopes one last time. We chatted on the Plaza, where dozens of people and kids were milling around in shorts and flip-flops, doing summer things in the mountains, and here we were talking about skiing. It was gorgeous up there by the way. I dawdled as long as I could in the scenery and cool air before I had to come back down and put the story together. It's going to run Friday (tomorrow) morning.

Posted by Mary Richards on June 30, 2005 at 03:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Blowing Up Geneva Steel

Okay so they didn't blow up the whole place but they did try to take down quite a few of the blast furnaces and stacks early in the morning.  As soon as I stepped out of my car at 5:45 A.M. at Geneva Steel I was met by hundreds of huge mosquitoes.    Everyone was swatting at the insects and this became a tough situation trying to report live with mosquitoes crawling all over.  Luckily as soon as the sun came up they went away.

They told us the blast would be at 6 A.M. and there would be no count down or any other notice.  I just kept my recorder rolling the whole time just in case in went off early.  Then all of a sudden there was an explosion.  5,000 pounds of explosives went off all at once.  I didn't even see the initial blast and when I looked over the 265 foot blast furnaces crashed down.  The explosion and the collapse was so fast that I kept waiting for something else to happen out there.  The whole thing took four seconds.  I've seen the sports stadiums and hotels come crashing down on TV but this was much quicker than I expected.  If you blinked you missed it.

A large cloud of dust spread out over the area and a little while later as it started to clear you could still seem some stacks still standing.  10 of the 14 stacks crashed down and four were left.  Plant officials took off to check out the base of the four remaining stacks.  They came back and said the explosives went off like they were supposed to but the four remaining stacks just had cracks in the foundation and would have to be drilled and re-wired at another time. 

If you are traveling by Geneva Steel you won't really notice any change.  It will take more than two years to demolish everything out at the site.

Posted by Lance Bandley on June 30, 2005 at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Trees and Cedar Hills

It was quite the day for me yesterday, starting with a tree landing on a house and ending with the Cedar Hills vote results. I worked a later shift so I could stay and report on the results last night. Around 3:10, I was putting together a story to run the next day when Marc Giauque came over to my desk and said, "Want to go on a field trip?" I love field trips! That means breaking news. I went out to 10th East and 3rd South where I saw a huge tree toppled onto a house.Dscf0587

In between staring at it and moving out of the way of interested neighbors and passers-by, I interviewed SLC Fire's Dennis McKone about what happened. I then went back to the truck to prepare for a 4 PM live shot. At about 3:50 or 3:55 I realized I didn't know what type of tree it was. Critical piece of information -- I just knew Scott and Maria could ask me questions after my live hit, and what do you bet that would be the first: "You didn't mention what type of tree this was, Mary." Me: "Uh, a big one."

Dscf0591 So I quickly hopped back out of the truck and ran the block back to Dennis past the other TV trucks and City and Fire trucks to ask what type of tree. I'm sure many people would know just looking at it but I have no idea. He said "Poplar." I ran back to my news vehicle. Ok, run isn't the word b/c I'm in the third trimester of pregnancy. More like quickly huffed and puffed my way back to the news vehicle, but I made it in plenty of time for the live shot.

After our PM news I was here until 10 updating the Cedar Hills vote (as well as the Southern Utah fires and other stories) with newscasts every half-hour. Randall Jeppesen was live at the polling place, but both of us couldn't get any update on the numbers until the final results. He got them at 9:50, and I threw him on the air with the breaking news sounder: both initiatives failed. By the way he said as the evening went on, more and more people were showing up at the polling place and he could hear KSL Radio going strong in their cars. Thanks for listening!

Posted by Mary Richards on June 29, 2005 at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Suing the Scouts...

It has been a very long day with a lot happening in the news.

All day, I've been chasing a story that finally came to fruition just before Utah's Afternoon News with Scott & Maria.  KSL NewsRadio was the first to report that the Justice Department and the Utah Attorney General's Office has included the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in a $14 million lawsuit over a wildfire.  You can hear my story by clicking here.

Intrestingly enough, this is the same area where Brennan Hawkins disappeared in.  I was up there earlier this week and the forest is still quite burned out.

Posted by Ben Winslow on June 24, 2005 at 06:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (18)

Bell & Podcast...

What a week it's been!  I think most of us at KSL finally got some good sleep last night after three absolutely crazy days.   Apologize there hasn't been more on the blog or podcast streams.  That should change today now that we all can breathe.

A couple of quick things this morning and then I'll have more later...

For the conspiracy theorists who can't believe how much attention the Nauvoo Bell has been getting in the media lately... you'll be thrilled to hear the Des News has another article on this in today's paper.

Our web traffic created all sorts of records this week.  On the INTERNET ALONE KSL Radio had more than 18,000 listeners Tuesday.  The site had more than 250,000 page views in ONE HOUR.  As soon as we broke the news on KSL Radio at 12:20pm that KSL Newsradio's Marc Giauque was hearing a medical helicopter dispatched to possibly pick up Brennan Hawkins the site went balistic.  People called friends, family, neighbors, coworkers and the traffic went crazy.

Incredible day and week. 

More later...

Posted by Russ Hill on June 23, 2005 at 08:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Finding Brennan Hawkins...

000_0620 As I write this, I'm back in Salt Lake City after spending two days in the high Uintas covering the search for Brennan Hawkins.  You can listen to KSL NewsRadio's coverage by clicking here.

Of course, KSL NewsRadio broke the news of Brennan being found during Utah's Noon News with Russ Hill.  I had just finished a live shot on the latest search efforts, when I called my partner in crime on this story, Marc Giauque.  He told me he was hearing some scanner chatter indicating something may be happening east of the search site, near Lily Lake.  At first, we thought it may be a searcher who got hurt flipping an ATV, because the things we were hearing were kind of confusing.

I started heading out that way, because I was on my way back to the search site.  To say that covering this story is a logistical nightmare is the understatement of the day.  There's hardly any cell phone service out in the high Uintas, the nearest town is Evanston, Wyoming -- where I filed a lot of stories because it is the nearest place with internet access.  That's 35 miles away.

000_0618 Then there's the road construction.  Perfectly timed for a major search effort, someone decided to tear up 11 miles of SR 150.  It's so torn up that the road alternates between dirt, pavement and some sort of washboard/gravel hybrid.  Then, just as you're approaching it -- the construction worker decides to hold up the "stop" sign -- and keep you stopped for the next 20 minutes.  At least the delay afforded me time to make some phone calls -- when I had a cell phone signal.

As I was on the phone with a good source of mine, Marc went on the air with what we were hearing.  I was still trying to get through construction.  Finally past the last checkpoint, I blasted through the Uintas to Lily Lake.  Somewhere between Evanston and the East Fork of the Bear River, I'm sure searchers heard a Ford Escape break the sound barrier.

I pulled up to Lily Lake and a DWS officer was blocking the road.  I tried to pump him 000_0628 for any information that I could get, asking "did they find him?"

"Preliminarily," was all he said.  What kind of answer is that?!?!  Of course, there was no way in hell I was getting past his roadblock.  Just then, a couple on ATVs came riding up.  They had heard that Brennan had been found... but it still wasn't confirmation.  A guy pulled up in a pick-up and claimed to have talked to the man who found Brennan.  Then, as I was trying to get on the air -- a volunteer searcher came up to me and told me they were called back and told to stop searching -- he'd been found, alive and well.

I got on the air with what I had.  Unfortunately, the cell phone signal was so bad that all Russ heard was "ambulance... <STATIC, POP> alive... <HISS, CRACKLE>... Winslow!"

Over the next couple of hours, we attempted more live shots from the high Uintas.  I found that if I didn't move -- much less breathe -- I could get a fairly clear signal.  The minute a breeze started blowing, I was off the air.  In the meantime, I started digging.

000_0624 Out at Lily Lake, I was surprised that not a lot of media was gathering.   A few photographers, KSL 5's Sam Penrod, eventually the AP, and myself.  Since this was the place he'd been found -- where was everyone?  I had expected the networks to be occupying the area like Germany.  They have a nasty habit of doing that.  But they were nowhere to be found... probably still up at the search site.

Then, a few guys on ATVs came rolling up.  Desperate for information, I started shouting questions to the first guy who pulled up.

"Is he okay?!?!" I shouted.  I got a yes.  They'd seen Brennan.  Another guy on an ATV pointed to the first guy, and said "he found him!"  You can hear KSL's interview with Forrest Nunley by clicking here.

After interviewing Mr. Nunley, I knew I had to get on the air.  But just then the Picture021_1 ambulance carrying Brennan came out.  I got some sound of the ambulance going by, then I drove down the mountain like a madman.  I was a desperate reporter in desperate need of a good cell phone signal.  With one eye on the road and the other on my phone bars, I pulled off the road at the first sign of hope.  I got on the air.

After another hour-and-a-half worth of live shots, I made the long drive to Evanston to begin filing.  It's been a hectic day, but in the end -- you gotta love a story with a happy ending.

Posted by Ben Winslow on June 21, 2005 at 08:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Latest on The Bell

For those following The Bell situation... I wrote up a little something published this morning on the DNews Opinion Page.  Thought those of you interested in the status of the Bell would find it interesting...

Posted by Russ Hill on June 21, 2005 at 09:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Patriotism or Advertising?

Flag   There's an interesting situation at Big Bob's Floor Covering in Sandy.  Owner Kody Sorenson received a citation from the city because of the American flag over his business.  Actually it's for 10 flags flying over his business.  Sorenson's attorney will be in court Tuesday in the next step of this situation.

The plan for Sorenson two years ago was to buy a giant flag like many companies have and fly that in front of his store.  The only problem was those flags cost several thousand dollars.  So to save some cash he bought 10 3x5 flags and put them on top of his store.

  About a year ago Sorenson decided he wanted to change the size of the sign on his store.  He went to the city to ask what needed to be done.  He says the city told him they would allow him to change the sign if he took the flags down.  Sorenson says he wondered what the flags had to do with his sign.

  It comes down to two problems.  Sandy city code allows for one U.S. flag, one Utah flag, and one corporate flag.  Also the U.S. flag can not be used commercially and city workers have determined that his flags are a form of advertising.  The flags are a form of secondary advertising which is not allowed in the city.  It is possible to fly more flags if you get a permit.

  Sorenson wonders why there is a limit to having U.S. flags.  He also says he doesn't believe the flags are used commercially because he sells carpet and other related items and the flags have nothing to do with his company.  They just help give a little more class to his plain white building and show his patriotism.  He also says there is no way he can pull the flags down because of the current situation across the world with the troops. 

  Sorenson says he thought the situation would go away.  He says he honestly didn't think it would get to this point of having to go to court.  He says he's never been arrested or convicted of anything but says if he has to be arrested he will gladly go to jail rather than pull down the flags on top of his store.

  While I was in the store some people walked in to just give support to Sorenson.  He says many people who visit his store aren't looking for carpet but just to stop by and tell him what they think of the whole situation.  He says he did get one letter from someone saying that he should pull them down.

  If you want to take a look the store is at 9127 S. 255 W.  Basically if you are on I-15 look east just before the 90th South exit. 


Posted by Lance Bandley on June 20, 2005 at 07:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

GPS Baby!!

In some sort of strange admittance that County employees are still likely to break the rules, they are now looking at putting GPS trackers in the fleet vehicles. 

In maybe the coolest use of technology I have heard in while, should an employee drive beyond the county limits an alarm would sound at "HQ,"  and they could shut the car down by remotely turning off the engine.  Is it just me or that totally rad? 

And since now linking to stories seems to be "in"  I will also post some for your perusal!

Makes me feel good about my game.

Is it just me or are you all totally sick of this crap too?

I guess I will have to start dressing up when i go to the capitol!

And I should also mention something about the Athletes Invitational.  There are three Utah brothers who are trying to raise money so kids that can't afford to play organized sports like Little League can through Scholarships.  The guys are running a tournament that teams can sign up for at $150 a team.  Anyway I'm rambling, it's Friday.  The bottom line is that it is a great cause because there literally are thousands of children whose parents can't afford the fees, and honestly shouldn't every kid who wants to be able to play sports?

Here is their website.

Have a good weekend!!!

Posted by Jon Dunn on June 17, 2005 at 09:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)

The Bell Tolls...

Good morning. 

This morning, in place of my typical rundown of what's happening in the news, I'm going to address an issue that is generating some questions from some of you.  I'm talking about The Nauvoo Bell.

Some background...

Nauvoo_bell_2A few weeks ago KSL Radio began transmitting a digital signal.  At that time, we had to begin broadcasting with a seven second delay.  Our chief engineer decided at that time to remove the sound of the Nauvoo Bell from our air.  For the majority of Utahns who knew nothing about the Nauvoo Bell being on KSL Radio, let me explain how it used to work.

At the beginning of every hour a microphone would open on Temple Square as the Nauvoo Bell was rung and it would be broadcast live on KSL Radio.  It marked the official top of the hour.  It has been a trademark on KSL Radio for more than 40 years. 

So, our engineer took it off the air and then brought the issue up to our management team.  The problem was if we continued to take the live feed of the bell from Temple Square the audience would hear it seven seconds after it actually sounded due to our delay.  The purists believed this would be unfair to people who set their watches on that bell.

The other option was to tape the bell and play the tape seven seconds before the actual start of the hour and then with the delay the audience would hear it at the correct time.  This was a problem because we have a station ID that runs at that time that is required by FCC regulations.  The bell would ring right over the station id.

So, the management team asked the engineers to look for the best solution and report back.  That report hasn't come back yet.  In the meantime, we have received less than a dozen messages from people who noticed the bell wasn't on KSL.

Then, the Deseret Morning News got interested.  They called earlier in the week and this morning ran a front page article.  Apparently several AM and FM radio stations decided this was the most compelling issue of the morning and decided to make KSL Radio the subject of their discussion this morning. 

I have been told some morning hosts even went so far as to say the removal of the bell from the airwaves of KSL represented the station abandoning its values. 

Are you kidding me?

As always, I greatly appreciate any media outlet talking about KSL. Veterans in this business know any publicity is good publicity as long as they get your call letters right.   Of course, the people saying some of these things on the radio do not believe what they were saying.  KSL and its staff certainly have not dumped their personal or collective values or moral judgment because we stopped playing the bell for a few days.  Such a claim, if truly made, is unfortunate.

We are seeking a solution and for those of you who are genuinely concerned about the bell being gone, rest assured it's always been our plan to keep it on the air.  My informed guess would be you'll hear it again beginning later today.  We discussed a way to make this work yesterday and think we may be able to have it back up and running today. 

In other words, there is no controversy.  The storied Nauvoo Bell which represents so much about the sacrifices and strong will of Utah's pioneer founders will continue to sound on KSL each hour. 

The greatest thing that has come from this attention in the media on KSL today is that thousands of Utahns who may or may not listen to KSL now know about this great tradition that exists on this radio station.  Now, thousands of people who never noticed the bell ringing on KSL Radio will now hear it and recognize it and know that one of the most historic items from Utah's past continues to be connected with this great radio station.

In my mind it speaks volumes about KSL that more than 40 years ago someone decided this bell was important enough to become an integral part of our programming.  Someone a generation ago decided they thought it was important that this radio station continue to broadcast this signal from the past so that generations in the future could hear it.

This simple bell speaks volumes especially in an industry where huge companies in far off places own stations that too often have little connection and involvement in the communities in which they broadcast.  Forgive the shop talk for a moment.  But unfortunately, this industry is and has been moving away from commitment to local communities.  Much has been written and said about this over the last several years.

The bell reminds us all each hour that this station, at least, is different.  It is after all the station established by the pioneers who settled these valleys.  It was their creation to connect the people who founded this area of the Wild West.   Every hour when each of us hears that bell we'll be reminded of our past, the pioneer heritage of this area, and this station's commitment to connect this community. 

This station remains as committed as ever to doing what it's always done.  Doing things like raising money to put shoes on the disadvantaged during Winter, devoting entire days of airtime to raise money to pay for healthcare for sick children, putting on the largest show of patriotism in the state each summer, and delivering news from down the street whenever and wherever it happens. 

Our intent is to strengthen these local ties and traditions in the years ahead.

So, will the bell ring again?  Yes it will and no doubt it will have more meaning to more people for years to come. 

You'll hear it again soon...

(Photo courtesy Deseret Morning News, Ravell Call.)

:UPDATE: Thank you all for your kind emails.  My email box has been flooded.  I greatly appreciate all of your positive comments about the bell and its tradition with KSL.  It looks like Monday mid-day we'll have this solved.  We've come up with a perfect solution.  In fact, it will even be given some more prominence in its placement.  Listen Monday for its return on KSL Newsradio 1160.

Posted by Russ Hill on June 17, 2005 at 08:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (52)